Yorkshire Evening Post 1/7/15
LEEDS UNITED are close to completing the signing of Leicester City striker Chris Wood for a fee which could rise to around £3m.
United are set to win the race to sign the 23-year-old New Zealand-born forward, who is understood to have been speaking with Leeds officials yesterday ahead of an impending big-money move to West Yorkshire.
Both Leeds and Wolves had been in a two-way fight to sign the Kiwi international – but according to reports from the Midlands last night, Wanderers have now pulled out of the race.
The Molineux outfit were not prepared to pay a £3m package for Wood, who has one year left on his deal at the King Power Stadium.
Leeds are now expected to finalise the signing of Wood on a four-year contract and the deal is expected to go through despite last night’s shock dismissal of Foxes boss Nigel Pearson.
Wood, also subject of recent interest from QPR, is down the pecking order at Leicester, who are keen to recoup some cash after spending £7m on Japanese international striker Shinji Okazaki.
The New Zealand international ended last season on loan at Ipswich, with Jamie Vardy, Leo Ulloa, David Nugent and Andrej Kramaric all in front of him in the striking queue at Leicester.
He netted just once for the Foxes last term, netting in the 2-2 Premier League draw with Everton on the opening day of 2014-15.
Wood started his career in England as a teenager at West Brom in 2009 and had loan spells at a number of clubs including Barnsley, Brighton, Birmingham City and Millwall. After hitting 11 goals in 19 matches in the first half of 2012-13 with the Lions, Wood rebuffed interest from the Londoners to join Leicester at the start of the January transfer window in 2013 – for an initial £1.25m with the fee rising to £3m.
Wood scored 20 goals for Leicester from 33 starts and 29 substitute appearances and was linked with a host of second-tier sides at the start of last term including Wolves – but he rejected a move to Molineux after failing to agree personal terms.
Wood made just seven league appearances from the bench for Leicester last term.
United, who returned to pre-season training on Monday, have signed three players already this summer, bringing in experienced defender Sol Bamba for an undisclosed fee from Serie A side Palermo alongside Motherwell forward Lee Erwin and young Cardiff City goalkeeper Charlie Horton.
Meanwhile, former Leicester defender Bamba has spoken of his relief after finally completing his protracted move to Leeds last week – with the 30-year-old signing a two-year deal with the option of a further 12 months.
Bamba, instrumental during his loan spell at Leeds in the second half of last season when the side pulled away from relegation danger in the Championship, said: “It’s great to be signing my contract here.
“I always said I wanted to remain at the club and it’s good news.
“Obviously, I need to kick on with everyone involved at the club.
“Now we have to get on with the football and I must try to do the best I can as an individual and us as a team.”